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John Tower's Texas Chili


Years ago, then senator John Tower of Texas stood up on the floor of the United States Senate and flatly declared that Texans make the best chili without question, whereupon Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona sprang to his feet and declared among other things that "Texans don't know chili from cow chips!" With the honor of the two great states challenged, a chili war ensued. Here is Senator Tower's recipe.


  • 3 pounds coarsely ground flank steak
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 3 heaping tablespoons ground chili powder
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 heaping tablespoon cumin
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • Fresh garlic cloves to taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 12 red peppers
  • 4-5 dried chile pods (like chile ancho or Colorado)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons flour


  1. Sear meat until gray.
  2. Add tomato sauce and water, stirring until well blended. Add Tabasco sauce, chili powder, oregano, cumin, onions, garlic, salt, cayenne, paprika, red peppers and chile pods. Simmer for one hour and fifteen minutes over mesquite wood (if possible).
  3. Add thickening of flour mixed with water.
  4. Simmer another 30 minutes, stirring often.


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